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Lexer you scooped me on the ram ranch joke I had ready to go for a week 😭

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I don't get it. Why didn't they just send the goats over to Katie?

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So back in 1969-70 I was brought to a hippie commune ranch by my father who was in a cult. As a child, I was horrified by what I saw--chaos, drug use, drama. The local news media covered the commune as a threat--noting the fire that burned down the main building, and the drowning deaths of two young girls (who I knew) because no one was around to pull them out of a fetid swimming pool. The health department finally shut down the ranch. The hippies were outraged, complained of being targeted and persecuted. But the health department was correct--and I knew it.

Now, contrast that coverage with the Unicorn Ranch coverage. A subculture is lionized, mentally fragile people are held up as paragons, and living beings that cannot fend for themselves are harmed. Ah, but they fit the narrative, is that it?

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I think the ideas that Yglesias was saying is accurate. I’m a female therapist who is on the left and works in academia so like I see a bunch of shit. What I find is that when you push up against trigger warnings, people get really really angry, even though trigger warnings are often just ways of avoidance that makes trauma symptoms linger longer.

I also know people who have really ruined a lot of parts of their lives just because they’re not willing to think about what they could do to make their lives better when they suffer from depression or panic. They get really into avoidance and that’s such a bad tactic. It’s not just about CBT but it’s just basic behavioral understanding how you deal with things like phobias and anxiety. And what’s hard is that people like that start self selecting people who reinforce their ideas about being sick and unable to get better. So if you even push back against basic stuff, you’re just gonna get attacked, so I just don’t engage with them anymore.

I’m a very psychodynamically oriented therapist, but I do focus a lot on how important it is to like get out of bed and start setting goals for yourself while also not catastrophizing. But however, that kind of practical stuff it’s not very performative, and I think some people are really invested in performance or they are just scared to admit that they might’ve inflicted some of their problems on themselves.

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I'm reminded of Lisa Marchiano's 2018 essay, "You're Not Mentally Ill, You Have Feelings". She writes, "When we construe normal feeling as illness, we offer people an understanding of themselves as disordered. This has the unintended consequence of encouraging people to be stuck in a limiting narrative." https://areomagazine.com/2018/07/08/no-you-dont-have-a-disorder-you-have-feelings/

One might wonder what effect the unrelenting drumbeat of Mental Health Awareness has had on young people and whether young city-dwelling liberals might not be getting the greatest dose of it.

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I am Indian, and kids were shitty to me because of Apu. It was odd because kids are universally shitty, but they often repeated racist jokes and comments from their parents.

That being said, Jesse is right. Last year, I looked up my former bullies on social media, and I can confirm that I came out on top :D

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This issue really hit home for me. I have struggled with health anxiety for a while as I’ve got older it’s increased and started to really affect me in a negative way. I’ve been to cbt therapy a few times and it always oiled down to doing the homework. I got motivated enough to skip the therapy (because I already now what the therapist will say). And got my own cbt workbook and have done the work. It has helped immensely within a month. Jesse, you’re right…cbt shows your cognitive dissonance and helps you reframe thought patterns. It has truly worked wonders.

As to your thoughts about mass “depression, psychosis” I see this everyday in public schools as a teacher. Students and faculty are basically bludgeoned with “trauma is everywhere, the world will end due to climate change” etc. The kids are fucking depressed.

I would not downplay the negative consequences of electronics. I see so many kids that are literally ADDICTED to their phones…nothing else matters. We try to make phone plans for students and they absolutely lose their shit. It’s like watching a drug addict missing a fix. I don’t want to sound hyperbolic, but I’m an truly worried about the future of our youth because I see it everyday. At some point (and this is crazy and it could go really wrong) legislation or regulations are going to have to placed on electronic devices for children. I don’t know what, but I truly think it HAS to happen or our society is going to crash.

Also don’t discount group think or mass hysteria..all one has to do is go back and read memoirs of of extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds..it is a thing. I believe kids are more depressed today because they are being bombarded from so many different directions. I also truly believe that kids ARE being gaslighted into thinking they are depressed and traumatized and the world is just a giant ball of shit.

Anyway sorry for the rant, it this episode really hit home for me more than any other I’ve listened to. Thanks JK!

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Mar 5Liked by Lexer

"it is hip to project misery" was a missed opportunity to say "it's hip to despair".

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Mar 4Liked by Lexer

The Unicorn Ranch story reminds me of this: https://medium.com/@sefashapiro/a-community-warning-about-ziz-76c100180509#6cc9

It's a cult of transwomen that split off from the rationalist community, and is now suspected in several murders and faked deaths.

Any chance we can get Jesse and Katie to do a story on them?

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Going to the first half of the pod, I highly recommend a long, wartime essay by George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn. It's online here: https://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/lion/english/. So much of it rings true today. His take on his contemporaries on the left still seems brutally apt:

The mentality of the English left-wing intelligentsia can be studied in half a dozen weekly and monthly papers. The immediately striking thing about all these papers is their generally negative, querulous attitude, their complete lack at all times of any constructive suggestion. There is little in them except the irresponsible carping of people who have never been and never expect to be in a position of power. Another marked characteristic is the emotional shallowness of people who live in a world of ideas and have little contact with physical reality. Many intellectuals of the Left were flabbily pacifist up to 1935, shrieked for war against Germany in the years 1935-9, and then promptly cooled off when the war started. It is broadly though not precisely true that the people who were most ‘anti-Fascist’ during the Spanish Civil War are most defeatist now. And underlying this is the really important fact about so many of the English intelligentsia – their severance from the common culture of the country.

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Some more of the Tranch's greatest hits:

The "barn" that was just a metal skeleton with a tarp over it

One of them saw that their car's tires were deflated and thought it was an assassination attempt

They had a vicuna, an untameable animal that's related to alpacas and can breed with them. He kept getting out of his enclosure to mate with the females; they named him Pepe LePew

They ended up with more alpacas than they expected because they didn't separate them by sex when they started out

There were piles of alpaca dung everywhere

They actually banned NPR from the ranch because they didn't like the story they ran about them

Someone could write a great book about this someday.

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Merch idea: one of those ampersand Helvetica shirts that says some combination pf “Katie & Jesse & Moose & Trace & Lexer”.

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It always ruffles my bumpers when elite people go out to the country and make no attempt to be neighborly or learn the local culture. I lived for a time in the most remote and least populated county in Ohio. I stuck out like a sore wart, but the people by and large were always gracious and friendly. I ended up working in the local hardware store. This solidified my spot in the community and I have never been so happy. I don’t want to romanticize my experience, it had some really lonely parts too. But the humility of being an outsider in a place different from my own led me to become an anthropologist. What I get from this Unicorn story is the hubris of identity politics.

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Mar 5Liked by Lexer

Note how depression among all youth trends upward in 2014, right when Rupi Kaur’s first poetry collection comes out

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I do think that neurotic people are more attracted to liberal spaces/ideas, and I also think that liberal media outlets and influencers engage in exactly the type of catastrophizing/polarization/personalization and other cognitive distortions that are bad for people who are prone to anxiety and depression. I have 100% witnessed this in my own family.

Regarding kids, I also wouldn't discount that a lot of liberals I know feel that their kids can "handle" tough topics that are maybe not developmentally appropriate. (I'm not saying that conservatives don't also do this or that they don't sometimes go too far in the other direction, I've just noticed it more amongst liberals.) I've also seen a lot of labeling normal kid behavior as "racist," "sexist," or pathologizing it as a sign of developmental difficulties when professionals feel the kid is fine. (Often, going to more and different professionals until you find one who is willing to dx your kid with autism, ADHD, OCD, etc is framed as "advocacy")

Example: paraphrasing, a mom posts in a group, "My 6 year old son said that boys only get married to girls. How can I make him less homophobic?" Or "Can anyone help me with my preteen daughter who isn't showering enough?" "She probably has ADHD."

Perhaps these ways of talking about kids and understanding them don't filter down to the kid and cause anxiety at the very least, but based on what I've seen I doubt it.

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Things I would likely buy - a Blocked & Reported branded mug, with "...we'll get to that" written on the other side.

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